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Finalizing the Fourth

Town prepares for Independence Day celebration.

Although many area citizens have the day off on the Fourth of July, for Vienna employees with the Parks and Recreation department, the holiday is a long, but fun, day. Staff comes into town at 5 a.m. to start setting up and don't leave until 11:30 p.m. or midnight.

Yet seeing people smile during the day makes the job worthwhile, staffers say.

"It's fun, we have a pretty good time doing it," said Parks and Recreation director Cathy Salgado.

As families prepare for Vienna's Independence Day celebration with family cookouts and plans to see the fireworks, the town has also been busy for many months to ensure that the festivities run smoothly. From assigning booths to working with the fireworks vendor, staff each year plan a celebration that many people expect to enjoy.

"It's a nice little celebration, and a nice little time," said Vienna police chief Bob Carlisle.

PLANNING FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY begins as early as February, when the town sends out packets to potential vendors. As the date gets closer, staff members arrange for adults and children's entertainment, assign booths to crafters and food vendors and schedule the day's events.

Salgado is in charge of the fireworks display, working with the County fire marshall to ensure fire safety and communicating with the vendor on how the show should go. A fireworks show usually has a flashy beginning, a calmer middle and a spectacular finish, Salgado said. She also picks the colors for the ground display that goes on during the fireworks show.

"Everything is done right now, it's just a matter of the little things we have to do," Salgado said.

While the park staff works on the logistics of the day's events, the Vienna police are in charge of traffic and crowd control. Although there is some extra staffing for the holiday, the day isn't stressful. Sometimes the police will reunite a lost child with his or her family.

"It's pretty much business as usual," Carlisle said.

AS FOR FIREWORKS ACCIDENTS, they have encountered residents setting off illegal firecrackers in the yards, but they haven't experienced any injuries over the last couple of years, Carlisle said.

In fact, the most pressing concern for both police and town staff is the weather. In the Vienna Community Center, the staff updates the weather board daily. What the staff doesn't want is a repeat of the extremely hot weather last year. Strong winds and wind direction can also affect the fireworks display and where spectators can sit.

"Last year's weather was really got, but other than that, it seemed to go pretty smoothly," said recreation program coordinator Amy Agndrix. For 15 years, she has assisted the town in putting its Fourth of July together. For Agndrix, the family games - the water balloon toss, the sack races and the three-legged races - are her favorite.

"You have people looking forward to coming back every year," Agndrix said.